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Jim Kabbani, executive director
Tortilla Industry Association
Many exciting developments have highlighted the year so far for the Tortilla Industry Association.
At a recent meeting, our board of directors voted to open membership eligibility to all types of flatbread producers! This means that companies that make pita, Tandori naan, lavash, chapati or any other type of flatbread can now enjoy the many benefits of TIA membership.
Because there is much commonality in the equipment and ingredients that are used to produce these products, TIA conventions are an excellent venue for such flatbread producers to stay abreast of latest products and make deals for the best prices. The educational content of the convention as well as the mid-year technical seminars address many of the same issues all flatbread producers deal with daily.
Just as importantly, the member benefit programs has been saving TIA members tens of thousands of dollars a year each on expenditures like business insurance, freight and even corrugated boxes. These are all programs that will send much needed dollars straight to their bottom line. So far, one TIA member company set a record this year by saving $120,000 in insurance premiums through the TIA insurance program.
Our membership continues to expand, and there is growing strength in these numbers. This has made it possible for TIA to undertake several advocacy initiatives on behalf of our industry.
For example, we succeeded in getting tortillas added to the foods paid for by the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program that feeds more than 8 million people a month. We were co-founders of the “Food Before Fuel” coalition, which is working to bring corn prices back down by reducing the corn ethanol subsidy and making it easier to import or create sugar cane-based ethanol instead.
We even got a congressional resolution declaring September as National Tortilla Month!
Additionally, TIA’s Scholarship Fund, which we launched last year with three scholarships, has been expanded this year to five scholarships of $1,000 each. Children and spouses of any employee who works for a TIA-member company are eligible for these awards. The application process is very simple. Students just need to write me a letter that tells me a little bit about themselves by the August 31st deadline. We then will pick the five winners and announce them at our convention, which runs from September 20-21 at Bally’s in Las Vegas with a golf outing and opening reception on September 19.
This is a dynamic, growing and fun industry to be in - and TIA is your gateway to the best and most profitable experience you could have in it. We invite you to contact us and find out more.
For more information, go to www.tortilla-info.com.